The below is a guest post by Julie Evans , CEO of Project Tomorrow
We all know online learning and teaching methods are gaining in popularity. Idaho recently joined Alabama, Florida and Michigan in passing legislation that requires students take a certain number of online classes in order to graduate. In Project Excellence’s 2011 Trends Update, students, parents and teachers are demanding more online coursework with more than 40 percent of students now designating online classes as an “essential” component of their learning experience.
Juxtapose these trends with the fact that districts all over the country are struggling with shrinking budgets, increasing enrollments and an increase in non-traditional students. With the initial investment in online technologies seemingly cost prohibitive, administrators find themselves wrestling with competing priorities as they ask: “What needs to be cut?” and “Where should I invest?” This paradigm is forcing a new way of thinking for district administrators: like CFOs.
Simply following a growing trend is not enough: districts often need to show a financial return on investment (ROI) for new programs or ventures; however, formulating an answer to “Should my school invest in online learning technologies?” takes more than just a spreadsheet. It should include questions that also consider the value of investment (VOI), such as “What are the specific needs of our students, teachers, parents and administrators?”
For example, when the rising number of non-traditional students, students seeking college-level courses and dual enrollment is taken into account, it becomes easier to justify an online communication investment. Or perhaps thinking about the time saved on travel, expenses and instructor fees when using online faculty training programs will justify the initial program investment.
Earlier this week, we were notified by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
that several of our products were selected as finalists for the 2012 CODiE Awards in both Higher Education and K-12 categories.
First time nominees, like Edline and CourseSites, were recognized as well as newly updated products like Blackboard Learn and Mobile Learn. The McGraw Hill/Blackboard Building Block also made it to the next round of judging. We are especially excited that educators nominated us after viewing product demonstrations first-hand. Being a finalist in all of the below categories affirms that Blackboard is helping to improve many aspects of education.
Finalist categories include:
Blackboard Learn, Release 9.1, Service Pack 6
• Best Postsecondary Course or Learning Management System
• Best Postsecondary Instructional Solution
Blackboard Mobile Learn
• Best Educational Use of Mobile Device
• Best Cross-Curricular Solution
Edline Learning Community Management System
• Best K-12 Enterprise Solution
McGraw-Hill Blackboard Building Block
• Best Cross Curricular Solution
For a full list of the finalists in the Education Technology categories, vist the SIIA website
. If you’re a member of SIIA, don’t forget to vote from now until April 13! Congrats to all the finalists!
Yesterday we made a series of company announcements that drew the attention of many across the education industry and beyond. But the news that we are going to continue to support the ANGEL platform indefinitely
is an announcement I’d like to pause on for a moment – as this is an important announcement for the entire ANGEL community.
Blackboard acquired ANGEL back in 2009 and was planning to End of Life the platform in 2014. However, as announced yesterday by Ray Henderson, “We recognize that clients continue to be successful with ANGEL, and we want to support that work as part of our larger strategy to support multiple learning platforms.” Blackboard will continue to provide support and maintenance to the ANGEL Community indefinitely. While ANGEL won’t see the significant enhancements that Release 9.1 and the Moodlerooms platform Joule will see, we plan to provide regular service packs for ANGEL 8.0 along with select enhancements, on which more information will be shared at BbWorld in New Orleans this summer.
Commentary from the media, analyst and client community has been very favorable of this news:
March Madness 2012 is upon us! With 99% of the tournament teams using Blackboard, we decided to host our own Final Four Pool. No money involved just good, clean fun. The client with the closest entries for the final winner will win a non-transferable free pass to BbWorld 2012 in New Orleans, LA.
Whether you’re pulling for a Trojan or a Jayhawk, you must enter your final four bracket picks by 12PM EDT on March 22, 2012 – and hopefully we’ll see your team in the Final Four.
Click here to enter your picks and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more March Madness trivia! Please see the contest terms and conditions, for more information.